The War of Words

Opinion: By Phil Riske | Senior Reporter/Writer

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older / Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long / And wouldn’t it be nice to live together / In the kind of world where we belong ~ Beach Boys – 1966

The brilliant late physicist Stephen Hawking once opined about what he saw as the biggest threat to world survival.

He didn’t mention lying politicians or climate change. 

And he knew not of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Were he alive, he would see just how often politicians lie and how climate change has become a fiery issue among candidates for president and other offices.

Hawking, who died two years ago at age 76 after living longer than anyone with ALS, made it clear he was worried about the future of humanity, and he offered the following to save it.

First, be nice.

Stephen Hawking

“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression,” he said. “It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all through nuclear war. The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.”

If all abide, there’ll be no reason for me and other columnists to growl about the state of affairs.

And no reason for a war of words or any kind of war.

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February 2021